Google and Oracle Ordered to Reveal Shill Bloggers


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The court battle between Google and Oracle has been long and brutal for both companies. Each was forced to submit data and information to the court that they would rather have kept secret. When Oracle's claim that Google illegally used Java patents in its Android mobile OS was finally dismissed, the entire debacle ended up looking as if it was just a huge money sink. For Oracle especially, the lawsuit was a longshot bet that didn't pay off.

With a trial as large and as complicated as this one, though, the wrap-up of the trial is still being conducted. One of the loose ends the judge in the case, U.S. District Judge William Alsup, wants tied-up is who Google and/or Oracle may have paid to write about the case, including bloggers, journalists, commentators, and authors. Alsup's court order makes it clear that he believes such information might be valuable in case of appeal or remand. From the court order:

The Court is concerned that the parties and/or counsel herein may have retained or paid print or internet authors, journalists, commentators or bloggers who have and/or may publish comments on the issues in this case. Although proceedings in this matter are almost over, they are not fully over yet and, in any event, the disclosure required by this order would be of use on appeal or on any remand to make clear whether any treatise, article, commentary or analysis on the issues posed by this case are possibly influenced by financial relationships to the parties or counsel. Therefore, each side and its counsel shall file a statement herein clear identifying all authors, journalists, commentators or bloggers who have reported or commented on any issues in this case and who have received money (other than normal subscription fees) from the party or its counsel during the pendency of this action. This disclosure shall be filed by NOON ON FRIDAY, AUGUST 17, 2012.

It will be very interesting to see just how much each of these companies invests in tailor-made press coverage. It will also be a revealing look into just how deep the paid blogosphere goes. With a lawsuit as nasty as this one, in which both companies' CEOs were dragged into the courtroom to testify, it comes as no surprise that the battle extended beyond the court room and into the tech press.